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The Legal 500 Hall of Fame Icon The Legal 500 Hall of Fame highlights individuals who have received constant praise by their clients for continued excellence. The Hall of Fame highlights, to clients, the law firm partners who are at the pinnacle of the profession. In the United Kingdon, the criteria for entry is to have been recognised by The Legal 500 as one of the elite leading lawyers for eight years. These partners are highlighted below and throughout the editorial.
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United Kingdom > South East > Public sector > Law firm and leading lawyer rankings




Index of tables

  1. Education
  2. Leading individuals

Who Represents Who

Find out which law firms are representing which Education clients in South East using The Legal 500's new comprehensive database of law firm/client relationships. Instantly search over 925,000 relationships, including over 83,000 Fortune 500, 46,000 FTSE350 and 13,000 DAX 30 relationships globally. Access is free for in-house lawyers, and by subscription for law firms. For more information, contact


According to its clients, Blake Morgan LLP’s ‘highly responsive’ team ‘always delivers’; its lawyers are ‘extremely willing to make themselves available to answer queries, always going the extra mile’. The firm’s client list includes a number of Oxford colleges, as well as the University of Cambridge and various other schools and higher education institutions, for which it handles governance, administration and student discipline issues, in addition to property management, among other matters. Recent highlights include acting for Keble College, Oxford, on the development of the former Acland Hospital site, which will provide the college with substantial additional facilities. The team also represented King Edward VI College in a claim brought by three lecturers with regards to an alleged breach of contract and unlawful salary deduction. Matthew Smith heads the nationwide practice from Cardiff, and Sheilah Mackie is the key figure in Southampton; she handles commercial IP, IT and data protection matters.

Penningtons Manches LLP is noted for its expertise in the higher education sector, advising a broad mix of universities and alternative providers on employment matters, commercial law, institutional issues and disciplinary procedures. Key clients include Kings College London, Royal Agricultural University and Oxford Brookes University; the team recently advised the last client on the renewal of a long-term lease from Oxford City Council, and on the grant of retail shop leases on its main campus site to various retail establishments. In another highlight, the firm acted for an Oxbridge college in a contentious matter following the expulsion of an undergraduate on the grounds of serious breaches of academic discipline, successfully bringing the matter to a favourable resolution. Daff Richardson specialises in governance issues, and Alison Talbot has strong charities expertise.

Blandy & Blandy LLP provides ‘an excellent service’ and ‘gives the client great confidence in its capabilities’, and the team ‘has a good understanding of the needs of educational institutions’. The practice advises schools, universities and educational charities on governance matters and trustee duties, along with commercial, regulatory and operational issues. Key clients include The University of Reading, which the firm recently advised on the promotion of a development site earmarked for a number of new primary and secondary schools, along with other commercial and residential establishments. Charities expert Nick Burrows is the key figure.

Clarkslegal LLP advises on major projects and transactions in the higher education sector, and also has strong expertise in employment, corporate and commercial, property and contentious matters specific to the education sector. Immigration specialist Monica Atwal recently advised a UK university on Tier 4 visas for a number of students, and also assisted with various staffing matters in relation to graduates seeking employment in the UK. Richard Higgs heads the department and specialises in real estate transactions, having recently advised on several major infrastructure projects. Other key figures include construction specialist David Rintoul, corporate and commercial lawyer Ashan Arif, and employment head Michael Sippitt.

Birkett Long LLP’s client roster comprises a mix of nurseries, colleges, schools and universities, for which it handles the full range of property and governance issues. Recent work includes acting for the Colchester Institute on the £1.2m sale of part of its estate to Braintree Council to use as a health centre, and advising Perryfields Junior School on its conversion to Perryfields Enterprise Academy Trust. Key figures include Martin Hopkins, who advises on employment and HR issues, and Melanie Bache, who handles commercial and real estate work. Amanda Timcke moved to Birketts LLP.

The ‘excellent’ team at DMH Stallard LLPunderstands the education sector well’ and ‘is always available for complex matters when the situation requires it’. Clients include a mix of universities, colleges, academies and educational businesses, and the team has notable experience advising on funding requirements and student relationships. Key practitioners include Tina George, who specialises in real estate matters and property portfolio management; and Rustom Tata and Simon Bellm, both of whom handle employment matters.

Baker Small Solicitors fields a team of ‘excellent’ practitioners that is praised for its ‘great breadth of knowledge within the education sector, most notably within the field of special educational needs (SEN)’. The firm counts several local authorities as clients; it recently represented Buckinghamshire County Council in proceedings before the Upper Tier Tribunal regarding the provision of education to young people aged 19 and over, and the associated education, health and care plans. Practice head Mark Small acts for private and public sector clients including parents, schools and local authorities in a range of disputes, and has notable experience within the special educational needs and disability system.

Boyes Turner has significant expertise in SEN matters where high-cost support and placement is sought, regularly liaising with social services, local authorities and Court of Protection deputies to resolve complex SEN matters. Senior associate Laxmi Patel heads the practice; her expertise encompasses appeals before the Special Educational Needs and Disability Tribunal, and working with the firm’s clinical negligence and Court of Protection groups in cases requiring funding from local authorities concerning educational provisions for children with special needs. Recent work includes assisting a family with the enrolment of a SEN child into a mainstream school within a neighbouring local authority.

Brachers acts for a range of academy schools and further education colleges, and also advises foundation, SEN and private schools on commercial property, corporate and employment matters. In a recent highlight, the team advised Priory Fields Primary School on its joint conversion to a multi-academy trust, now known as The Whinless Down Academy Trust. The firm also advised Hadlow Group on the £6.5m construction of Hadlow Rural Community School, a secondary teaching institution housing up to 330 pupils. Commercial property expert Bill Butler heads the department, advising on land acquisitions and disposals, landlord and tenant matters, and the disposal of school and college land for redevelopment.

Field Seymour Parkes LLP’s wide-ranging expertise covers tax issues, mergers, school fee recovery and construction projects, among other matters. Practice head Katie Burley handles employment matters on behalf of educational institutions; she led a team defending John Madejski Academy in an equal pay claim arising from a TUPE transfer, a matter involving approximately 180 claimants. Louise Smyth is the other key practitioner along with Caroline Airey, who handles corporate and commercial matters.

Hewitsons is ‘excellent in all areas’; its key areas of expertise cover real estate and construction projects, data protection and freedom of information matters, academy restructurings, and commercial transactions. Chris Knight advises various educational institutions on the full range of commercial and regulatory issues. The ‘consistently excellentClare Waller is ‘very knowledgeable in all areas of HR and employment law’ and ‘gives clear, sound advice, always understanding the clients’ needs’.

Moore Blatch LLP has recently handled a number of High Court and Court of Appeal cases in relation to special educational provisions, and has notable expertise in Judicial Review applications against local authorities arising from failure to make appropriate provisions for SEN children. The group also advises parent and guardian organisations on the effective application of litigation to ensure the best level of educational provision following the SEN reforms. Tim Spring is the key name to note.

Shakespeare Martineau LLP’s ‘strong sector team’ provides ‘pragmatic and tailored advice’, and is particularly known for its expertise in employment matters, construction, constitutional reviews and complex governance issues. Highlights included representing The University of Kent in a Judicial Review application brought by a student, which involved the student’s withdrawal following non-payment of tuition fees. Practice head Smita Jamdar is ‘a standout legal practitioner – pragmatic, personable and a genuine expert in the sector’. Geraldine Swanton is ‘a go-to person for data protection and freedom of information matters’.

Tees Law has ‘a growing reputation in education law’ and provides ‘a particularly good service to school clients due to their strength in other practice areas, most notably in employment’. Highlights for the previous year included advising various schools on the amendment of existing policies, with a particular focus on the protection of children from social media abuse. Practice head Polly Kerr is ‘passionate about education law’ and provides ‘strong legal analysis and judgement in this very specialised area’, advising parents, teachers, students and schools on the full range of contentious and non-contentious education matters.


Index of tables

  1. Health
  2. Hall of Fame
  3. Leading individuals

Hall of Fame

  1. 1

Leading individuals

  1. 1

Who Represents Who

Find out which law firms are representing which Health clients in South East using The Legal 500's new comprehensive database of law firm/client relationships. Instantly search over 925,000 relationships, including over 83,000 Fortune 500, 46,000 FTSE350 and 13,000 DAX 30 relationships globally. Access is free for in-house lawyers, and by subscription for law firms. For more information, contact


A well-respected name in the healthcare field, Blake Morgan LLP acts for a range of NHS trusts, social enterprises, GPs and health regulators, advising on the full spectrum of matters including procurement, competition issues, joint ventures and inquests. The team advises NHS England on policy issues such as drugs funding, primary care and offender health contracts, and provides similar full-service support to NHS Wales. Highlights included acting for Ramsay Health Care UK on its bid to design, build and run a private patients hospital on a NHS site, and defending NHS West Hampshire Clinical Commissioning Group in a claim brought by a private health provider. Chairman and practice head Bruce Potter has extensive experience acting for NHS bodies and implementing system-wide changes, and also advises on transactions and public procurement projects. Gayle Curry is the other key practitioner, acting for central government, the NHS and various independent healthcare organisations.

Birkett Long LLP’s ‘highly responsive’ team has ‘a strong knowledge of the sector’ and advises GP practices, care homes and domiciliary care operators on the full range of M&A, regulatory and property-related work. The firm recently advised Avondale Care Home on a high-value asset sale, and assisted a GP practice with corporate ownership, allotment of shares, declarations of trust and various other matters tied to its incorporation as a limited company. Key figures include the ‘knowledgeable’ Tracey Dickens, who advises care homes and medical partnerships on corporate finance matters, and David Wisbey, who handles M&A transactions. Other notable clients include Healthcare Homes Group, St Lawrence Medical Practice and Ambrose Avenue Partnership.

Brachers attracts praise for its ‘excellent, prompt service’ and for its ‘great knowledge of the legal and practical issues present in the provision of healthcare’. The practice is growing its commercial contracts and procurement workload, and also handles inquests for NHS trusts and judicial reviews in the context of strategic reorganisation. Recent work includes representing Kent & Medway NHS Partnership Trust in its prosecution under the Health & Safety at Work Act, and advising residential care home owner Nellsar on reputational damage issues and issuing a report to the Care Quality Commission following the assault of a patient at one of its care homes. Practice head John Sheath advises on clinical negligence claims, inquests, health and safety issues and risk management, and frequently handles mediations in clinical disputes. Other key individuals include Scott Alexander, who assists with judicial reviews and Court of Protection declarations, and Catherine Daw, who is recommended for HR matters.

Cripps LLP is ‘one of the leading advisers in the pharmacy sector’ and ‘adopts a pragmatic approach in each matter, offering clients timely and effective advice’. The practice’s clients span the independent pharmacy and dentistry sectors, in addition to GPs, opticians, care homes and independent fostering agencies. Highlights included advising pharmacy group Day Lewis on the sale and purchase of several pharmacy companies and businesses, and acting for Metro Bank on a variety of healthcare-related loans involving borrowers such as dentists, veterinary surgeons, dermatologists and opticians. Nick Austen heads the healthcare team, advising primarily on corporate and banking matters, and litigator Philip Youdan is recommended for regulatory issues.

Moore Blatch LLP has ‘a long history of successful work in the healthcare field’, making it ‘an excellent choice for dealing with all types of cases’. The firm regularly advises on challenging decisions made by public bodies and on refusal of medical care and services, and also assists individuals with applications for continuing care from the NHS and local authorities. The team also has strong expertise in housing issues, particularly with regards to specially adapted social housing, and regularly advises on disability discrimination matters. Paula Barnes has solid experience in administrative and public law matters, and assists a number of high-profile charities and education centres with regards to community issues. Tim Spring is the name to note for clinical negligence cases, and Trevor Sterling specialises in accidents resulting in major trauma.

DAC Beachcroft LLP fields a ‘strong team of pro-active lawyers’ that is ‘able to handle sensitive matters with a professional and human touch, which makes them very approachable’. The firm counts a significant number of NHS trusts as clients, and also retains a strong following of ambulance trusts and independent health providers. The team is particularly strong in employment issues, and recently advised a number of NHS hospitals on issues stemming from the junior doctors’ strike and the implementation of the new junior doctor contract, including advising on contingency planning and disputes regarding pay deductions. In another highlight, the practice advised NHS Resolution and Royal Bournemouth and Christchurch NHS Foundation Trust in a claim related to alleged surgical mismanagement. Nigel Montgomery heads the health sector practice and Belinda Dix leads the healthcare regulatory team; her expertise covers a range of patient care and regulatory issues.

EMW Law LLP is noted for its expertise in healthcare-related banking matters, advising a range of social care providers, medical hospitals and care units on various funding arrangements. The team also provides sector-specific advice on acquisitions and disposals, charity enterprises, property development and dispute resolution. Key figures include Joe Soul, who acts for banks and operators on healthcare transactions; Lucy Bradban, who assists with partnership arrangements and the transfer of property assets; and Jordan Glackin, who is recommended for corporate and commercial matters in the healthcare space. Care Concern, Clacton Dental Group, Roddericks Dental and Metro Bank are all clients. Cottsway Housing Association is a recent client gain.

Local government

Index of tables

  1. Local government
  2. Leading individuals
  3. Next generation lawyers

Next generation lawyers

  1. 1

Who Represents Who

Find out which law firms are representing which Local government clients in South East using The Legal 500's new comprehensive database of law firm/client relationships. Instantly search over 925,000 relationships, including over 83,000 Fortune 500, 46,000 FTSE350 and 13,000 DAX 30 relationships globally. Access is free for in-house lawyers, and by subscription for law firms. For more information, contact


Blake Morgan LLP’s ‘competent team’ provides ‘clear advice on all questions raised’. The practice handles both public and private sector work, with an emphasis on commercial and procurement projects, urban regeneration, construction issues and issues related to adult social services. The group is growing its workload for London boroughs – as well as unitary and district councils – on large-scale projects; notable clients in this space include Exeter City Council, Cherwell Council and Stratford upon Avon Council. The firm recently advised The Peabody Trust on its £335m project for new housing supply and regeneration in Thamesmead, a matter involving GLA Housing Zone Bids for sites in several London boroughs. The group is also providing legal support to Test Valley Borough Council in relation to a major leisure project covering five sites, and is acting for Exeter City Council on its £20m construction of a leisure centre in Exeter, which will be the UK’s first ultra-low energy efficiency leisure centre. Practice head Penny Rinta-Suksi has notable expertise in the leisure sector, and advises the Oxfordshire authorities on a range of matters including pilot PFI schemes, PPP projects and leisure management contracts.

Cripps LLP’s ‘high-quality’ practice attracts praise for its ‘practical, timely advice’ and ‘excellent level of client care’. Its areas of expertise cover real estate acquisitions and disposals, development work, property disputes, employment issues and public sector procurement, among other matters. In a recent highlight, the team acted for Slough Borough Council on a large-scale regeneration project procured in partnership with Morgan Sindall, which involves the development of housing, public buildings, schools and leisure facilities. Other key longstanding clients include the UK Border Agency, the Crown Prosecution Service and the Home Office, and the practice also has a strong client base of local councils. Miles Paffard leads the department, which includes Jason Towell, who is noted for his work for housebuilders and public sector clients on residential development and regeneration projects, and James Lee, who is recommended for complex construction matters.

DMH Stallard LLP’s multi-disciplinary team advises London local authorities and county councils on the full breadth of issues including commercial contracts, housing, employment, planning and procurement. Notable work included assisting the London Borough of Enfield with a number of s106 agreements, highway agreements and unilateral undertakings, and advising the Royal Borough of Kensington & Chelsea on pre-action protocols, sub-letting and new anti-social behaviour provisions. Real estate expert Tina George heads the local government practice; he is noted for his advice to local authority clients on contentious and non-contentious property matters. Other notable clients include the London boroughs of Southwark, Croydon and Enfield, The Local Government Ombudsman, and Epsom & Ewell Borough Council.

Clarkslegal LLP is noted for its specialist expertise in waste management and major project procurement. The team provides environmental advice in relation to R&D schemes, regional projects and landfill diversion to a range of public sector bodies, and its key clients include a mix of housing associations, fire authorities and educational institutions. The practice is also well versed in advising local authorities on the use of their powers and their authority to act, as well as other governance issues. Highlights included advising Tomorrow’s Valley on the substantial procurement of a food waste treatment contract, which is expected to result in the generation of renewable energy. Kirstin Parker heads the team and handles a broad spectrum of commercial work, with a particular emphasis on contracts, outsourcing and PPP projects. Other key individuals include employment lawyer Michael Sippitt and commercial property head Rachel Krol.

EMW Law LLP is best known for handling development sales for public sector organisations. The team recently advised Milton Keynes Development Partnership on the disposal of substantial land at Campbell Park to Crest Developments, and also assisted with the £12m disposal of a five-storey office block. In another highlight, the firm acted for Greys Education Centre and St Johns Special School and College on their merger, resulting in the formation of the Bedford Inclusive Learning and Training Trust. Practice head David Danskin focuses on development work for local authorities, and Joe Soul and Marco Mauro are the other key figures.

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